Get Your Customers To Socialize Your Awesomeness

When your customers brag about your product or service, their friends listen.  That’s what Nielsen learned in their Trust Survey, when they discovered that consumers were 71% more likely to trust (and act on) a social media recommendation than an advertisement. 

When a facebook friend recommends you, shares a link to you or reviews you on Yelp or Trip Advisor…good things happen.  When you run an ad or launch outbound marketing campaigns, you spend money, get some results and eventually optimize yourself into some sort of ROI.  It’s a classic continuum: Cheap-to-free incremental sales VS costly incremental sales.  

Here’s how I define social media: Content that anyone can make and anyone can share.  That’s why it spreads so quickly and takes up 27% of all time spent online.  It’s inherently democratic and viral.  This is the trick to driving word-of-mouth, especially if your product has a competitive advantage in terms of user experience, novelty or received value.  

Last week I stayed at a Pod hotel in Manhattan.  The rooms are small but the design is hip and the price can’t be beat: $185 a night!  As I was heading out of my room on the last day, I noticed a placard on my door (see above) that invited me to share my experience via TripAdvisor.  It even provided a QR code I could scan with a single click on my iPhone and …. it took me straight to their page, where I could review them  (and share that review via my FB or Twitter stream).  

Now that’s the way you do it.  Of course, if they had dingy rooms and bad service, this could be a prescription for disaster.  But they don’t, and they know it very well.  They determined that Trip Advisor was the key battle ground to capture rooms up for grabs (which the numbers support) and with a simple in-product placement (sign on hotel room door), they’ve poured fuel on the fire.  

You can/should/must do this too.  Much like Pod, you should think about how product or service design can enable customers to share the love easily.  Notice I wrote, “easily.”  Every single step you ask them to take dramatically reduces the likelihood they will actually tell their friends, and their friends, about your great service. That’s why Pod thought to offer me a QR code for easy-evangelism. 

If you offer a web service (like 99 Designs), you can allow customers to share their new listing for comments or friend-sourced contributions. If you send customers online satisfaction surveys, you can easily code “share this” buttons to enable them to broadcast your awesomeness.  When I gave away a chapter of my fourth book, sharing was built into the reading experience every few pages.  This led to significant downloads on launch day, which propelled the book to #91 on Amazon.  

How can you design “share your great experience with us” into your customer’s experience?  If you do this already, what steps can you eliminate and how can you provide the sharing-opportunity at the right time?  These are the new questions that buzz marketing enthusiasts must ask if they want to capture the social opportunity at hand!

(This is from my newest book “The Social Opportunity” that I give to my keynote audiences.  I’ve been speaking across the country on this subject, and opening eyes to the fact that social media offers a great R&D, customer service, direct marketing and brand evangelism opportunity to businesses that are adept at design, testing and risk taking.   If you are interesting in having me visit your company or conference, go here.)